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LinuxSecurity.com: Carnivore and Privacy: An Oxymoron?

Aug 03, 2000, 07:43 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Chris Parker)

[ Thanks to Chris Pallack for this link. ]

"When one really thinks about it, the main reason for computer security is data privacy. People protect their systems so that unwanted people can't see data they're not authorized to see. Well, what if there was no way to protect your privacy because all incoming and outgoing data was being viewed by a third party. This is the potential power that the FBI wields."

"Carnivore is a sealed box that the FBI installs at an ISP. The box filters packets, looking for emails of suspected criminals. Once emails from suspects are found, they are saved for decryption and analysis. The FBI claims that Carnivore is meant for nothing more than tapping the email of suspected criminals. Also built into Carnivore is a remote-access capability that allows FBI agents to check on the progress of the Carnivore system."

"While it does need a court order to be used, ISPs dislike the idea of Carnivore because they have no way to ensure protection from Carnivore for their law-abiding customers. Also, ISPs feel that if Carnivore's only true purpose is to look for email addressed to or from a suspect, then there is no need for Carnivore because the ISP can do that for the FBI easily enough."

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